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Mike Fehnel« Go Back Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Meet Our New General Manager, Mr. Mike Fehnel!
Gina and I have a special treat for you all this week. We sat down and had a conversation with Dorney Park’s new General Manager Mr. Mike Fehnel. Now, Gina and I didn’t really have much interaction with Mr. Fehnel (or GM Mike as Gina and I sometimes say) when he was head of Revenue. He would occasionally walk through the back office where we work and would say hello or ask us about our day. Going into this interview we had no idea what to expect. Let me say, Mr. Fehnel (GM Mike) is one of the nicest guys either of us has ever met and he has a great sense of humor! Now, I know you must all be thinking “of course they have to say that, he’s their new boss!" Gina and I have strived to give an honest account of our experiences at the park, and this was no exception. I think the interview will speak for itself so let us introduce you to the new General Manager of Dorney Park!
Q: Congrats on your new position! Can you give us a little bit of background on your history here at Dorney Park?
Mr. Fehnel: Thank you! My earliest memories of Dorney Park date back to the early 80’s when you still paid for rides with tickets. I remember the whale boats, water scooters, Whip and the kiddie roller coasters. I was deathly afraid of the Bucket of Blood. I started working here in 1992 in the Games department at the Whack A Mole. I worked all through high school and college in various roles, becoming the Games Manager after graduation from Kutztown University.
Q: Not many people can say they have spent their whole careers with the same company. What do you think this says about Dorney Park and Cedar Fair that you (and others) have been able to spend your whole career here?
Mr. Fehnel: We have the pleasure to work in such a unique industry. Our job is to give our guests the Best Day of the summer while they are here. I take great pride in walking the park and watching our staff interact with the guests and the product we deliver. If there is ever a bad day, a quick ride on Talon can fix that!
Q: How do you think you experience as assistant GM has prepared you for being the GM?
Mr. Fehnel: The most valuable part of my training as Assistant GM was getting the opportunity to visit our sister parks. This spring I traveled to Worlds of Fun, Carowinds, Canada’s Wonderland and Cedar Point to spend time with their teams and look for ideas that would be applicable to Dorney Park. It was an invaluable experience.
Q: Did GM Jason give you any advice about your new role?
Mr. Fehnel: I don’t there is any one thing that Jason did to prepare me for this role. Spending time with Jason these past 5 years and watching how he handled situations and prioritized his time was probably the best for my personal growth. I think the biggest thing Jason repeated often was to always trust your gut.
Q: What vision/direction do you hope to bring to Dorney under your management?
Mr. Fehnel: When I think about Dorney Park and the future I want to follow our CEO Matt Ouimet’s vision of dividing our operation into three sectors. First we must strive to be the Entertainment of Choice. We want to be best in class at delivering entertainment value to our guests so they keep visiting for years to come. Second we want to be the Employer of Choice. We need to give our employees the tools and leadership they need to deliver our quality product to our guests. Lastly we need to be the Investment of Choice. Being a publicly held company it is important to perform financially in order to secure funding for the future growth of the company. If we can keep those three areas moving forward, we will be well positioned to help Dorney Park grow.
Q: Do have any advice for any of our workers out there who started out like you did and hope to one day end up where you are now?
Mr. Fehnel: The best advice I can give it to treat each position you have like you are reaching for the next opportunity. Make yourself an asset to your supervisor and learn everything you can from them. You never know when you will have the opportunity to wear their shoes. At the same time, respect and value every employee regardless of their position. Every job at Dorney Park has its challenges whether you are a sweeping the midways, running a ride or working in a gift shop. No one has an easy job.
Q: What do you think your biggest challenge will be moving forward?
Mr. Fehnel: Finding the right people to join our team is always a challenge. We need to recruit the right people who want to be here to help serve our guests and be part of the team, not just someone looking for a paycheck. In the end our guests are our paycheck, and we need to make sure we treat them that way.
Q: Gina would like to know how you plan to decorate your office?
Mr. Fehnel: I have a small collection of Dorney Park memorabilia that I have already added to the walls. I also have some photos of my sons Carter (6) and Thomas (3) who you will see around the park from time to time. They are the two luckiest boys on the planet because they get to spend so much time here.
Q: What is one thing about yourself that most people wouldn’t know?
Mr. Fehnel: OK, there is a tough one… I’m going to give multiple answers… I broke my arm when I was 4. I wasn’t allowed on the monkey bars but my sister told me she would hold my legs. We all know how that ended…
Q: What is your favorite meal to eat in the park?
Mr. Fehnel: I am a fan of many options around the park, however if I had to pick only one I would have a lobster cheesesteak with Crabfries from Chickie’s and Pete’s Sports Bar with a fresh made funnel cake for dessert.
Mr. Fehnel is the kind of guy, as seen in the interview, who you could walk up to in the park and have a conversation with. So if you see him please feel free to walk up, introduce yourself, and tell him about yourself! We even provided a picture so you will know him when you see him.
Check out our exclusive sit-down message from Mike here! Have any great stories about meeting Mr. Fehnel? Have a question about our new GM? Feel free to let us know by commenting below!